Scenes from a Childhood Summer
My travels on this day took me back to my mom and dad's house in Juniata County, and to the woods I played in when I grew up. My husband and I spent much of the day there, and met several of my siblings in the afternoon for a family pow-wow. (More about all of that on some other day.)
I had taken my camera along, of course, and after lunch, I wandered into the woods to check things out. The lady's slipper orchids that were flowering so beautifully on Mother's Day when we visited last are done now, of course. I miss their pretty pink blooms already, but the stems remain.
The water in the photo above is what we always called "the spring drain," and if I went missing as a child, this was almost always where you could find me. We loved to play in the water (aka: "slopping in the spring drain"), find amphibians and reptiles, and race our little styrofoam "boats" with our cousins. The fresh water was also great for making mud pies, a useful life skill that I excel in to this very day.
In the background, you may see "the shack," where we kids also spent many happy hours in our youth. We would play cards and light punk sticks to keep the insects away, and even mess with the Ouija board, and sit in the shack talking and laughing for hours. It was like a secret clubhouse.
I think I heard my first Patrick F. McManus* story in the shack. It was read aloud by my cousin Dean, out of Field & Stream magazine back in the 1970s, and those stories were fodder for McManus's first (and possibly most brilliant) book about camping and the great outdoors: A Fine and Pleasant Misery. I do recommend it; it is one of the funniest books I have ever read.
These are all happy memories to me, and I am grateful to have run wild, and to have had a life that included playing amid the trees and fresh air, and making mud pies, and slopping in the spring drain, and playing with the cousins. Yes, indeed, I was very well blessed to have such a childhood. It seems almost idyllic to me now.
Here is a song to go with this image and story: Sarah Groves, Childhood Summer.
*P.S. You may see two of my blip-tributes (both about cows) to McManus here:
The Great Cow Plot